Muscle Cars

My 2017 Barrett Jackson Auction Experience

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By Mark Weisseg

True to form I headed to Scottsdale Arizona for the big show under the tent. The weather was lousy most of the week. Rain, wind and cold dominated the time I spent there. So much for global warming and the desert heat.

The crowds were thick. Thicker in the main room as it was too darn cold to be outside very long. I felt bad for the food vendors out there huddled around the ovens to stay warm. But it was my first time out there so I walked it all. Just on Friday alone I walked over 6 miles in and around the cars and buildings. Everything I came to see and more was there for me to see. What I did not imagine was a building full of vendors. Massage chairs, Alaskan fishing trips, jewelry, hair and skin care, shoes, shirts and much more. After all, I came to see cars and to see cars sold.
Finally I took my seat on Friday and watched the masters at work. Once that car hit the stage it had about 90 seconds to sell unless maybe the Jacksons promised the sellers they would fetch more. I say that because at times the car would linger on stage for what seemed like five minutes as the auctioneer would beg you to bid higher. At times King Craig Jackson or Steve Jones would pipe in that the car was worth three times what was being bid. One car the claim had over 700 thousand dollars of receipts and it only sold for 70 grand. Or did he say 700 thousand? Either way at times they begged and pleaded with the audience to bid more. It’s like they thought everyone in the room was a millionaire and money was no object.

The stunner came on Saturday when a VW bug restored by Dave Kindig and crew sold for over 140 grand. For a VW bus! Can yuh say “sucker”.

The crowds were large and the cars plentiful. From barn finds to full blown restorations there was something for everyone if you had money. At times I wondered who all the people on the stage were. The stage was crowded at times and even though security kept the one side of the cars clear of people the shear amount was distracting. I did hear one resounding bite over and over in the crowds. They don’t like the guy in the sunglasses. Yep, Steve wears them for medical reasons but he comes off as a jerk. I heard it all over the building and I wonder if B- J knows or cares.
On Saturday they auctioned off Justin Bieber’s car. Other than a few hundred young girls there with there parents the majority of the crowd couldn’t care less. They clapped a bit to be polite but other than that the crickets were noisier.

Now, to the cars. So many Corvettes, Mustangs, and yes Camaro’s the crowds paid good money for. Chevelles did well as usual as did some off the main stream cars. An ambulance that carried the body of JFK, Dodge Power Wagons, and of course a few really cool cars that were off the grid.
Overall I got to check a big bucket list item. The vendors made sure they ripped you off for a coke or a beer but nobody seemed to mind. Every walk of life seemed to be there especially on Saturday.

Roll out the baby strollers honey we’re going to spend the day looking at cars we cannot afford! Uber were everywhere. One driver told me the customers were like ants. Everyone was getting wealthy during this event. New car displays, old car displays, and all things automotive were on hand. The only long lines I encountered were going to the men’s room. Yes, the lines were longer going into the boys side. Yes, I guess there were more men than women there but there were a lot and I mean a lot of females there. And as usual it was a show in its self. Some of them I wonder if they really looked in the mirror before they left home. Anyway, my next few articles will be about some of the cars there and some background, so stay tuned.

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